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‘D Minus’ For Defence Of Exam Grades

BUT president Belinda Wilson.

BUT president Belinda Wilson.

By EARYEL BOWLEG

Tribune Staff Reporter

ebowleg@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMAS Union of Teachers President Belinda Wilson has accused Ministry of Education officials of trying to twist the narrative about the “poor” BJC and BGCSE examination results.

She described Monday’s Ministry of Education press conference as “nothing short of a disgrace”.

The BUT president and many others have criticised the 2020 exams, which had worsened results compared to 2019 with fewer students achieving A, B and C grades and more students receiving D, E, F and G grades.

But at the press conference on Monday, Education Minister Jeffrey Lloyd called the 2020 national exam results a “success and remarkable accomplishment” despite the challenges of COVID-19. Assistant Director of Education Evelyn Sawyer said more should be taken into account than students’ letter grades when talking about whether exams were a success.

Mrs Wilson argued yesterday it was unnecessary for students in the midst of a pandemic to have to sit exams, only for the results to show that the majority of the students obtained poor grades.

“The Ministry of Education’s press conference was nothing short of a disgrace,” she told The Tribune. “The ministry officials tried to twist the narrative about the poor BJC and BGCSE examination results.

“The Ministry of Education has an opportunity to calibrate and change the curriculum, syllabus and even the design of the examination to make it more student centred. The Bahamas Union of Teachers is willing to work with the Ministry/Department of Education to improve the educational system but education officials have to broaden their horizons.

“They need to admit that they have failed and recognise there is much room for improvement. Once the education officials make this first step then all stakeholders must be welcomed to the table to discuss all aspects of education for the maximum outcome.

“Unless and until egos are put aside and the modus operandi which is outdated is changed then we will continue to have failing grades. The sad part about all of this is that the thousands of children in our nation are being negatively impacted and the education gap is widening.”

The exam statistics, which were released last week, showed the number of BGCSE candidates that received at least a C grade in five or more subjects declined by 5.8 percent. The number of BJC students receiving a grade of C or higher in five or more subjects declined by 2.7 percent.

Both exams showed a drop in students who sat the exam. It was revealed that 10,753 people sat the BJC exams, representing a 3.62 percent decrease from 2019. Meanwhile, 6,073 candidates registered for the 2020 BGCSE exams compared with 6,454 in 2019 - representing a 5.9 percent decline.

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